4 ways to help reduce fashion waste around the world

Years ago I had a stuffed wardrobe with no usable wearables inside. The reason was that all the items he had purchased in the past had only been worn a few times and would lose their shape in the wash. I made extensive edits and set aside the wearable clothes I liked the most and shared them between me and my sisters. We believe that the good pieces will go to those in need and the rest will be carefully recycled and reused in the production of new garments.

Fast fashion chains claim to have sustainable production just to ease the minds of their customers, but in reality, it’s just a marketing gimmick. that it will never become Because recycled clothes are never 100% used in the production of new clothes, instead they end up in landfills or become cleaning materials and insulation. The most sustainable garments are those that don’t need to be newly produced.

Since 2000, new clothing purchases have doubled, with the world producing over 120 billion garments each year (120 billion garments, given that there are only 7.9 billion people on the planet). not necessary at all). What used to be 4 new collections now has 52 micro-collections each year. Additionally, the pandemic has pushed online shopping to pick up pace and reach peak levels. This is partly due to social media. Influencer tops with links to online shopping pages now appear the same every day, making it easier than ever to buy in bulk online.

Fast-fashion chains are producing faster and cheaper than ever before, and the quality of the clothing they produce is at its lowest level in years. Items purchased from fast fashion brands used to be worn by him 2-3 times, now they don’t last that long. The big news is that it’s all done on purpose. Clothes need to be worn once, influenced by new ones, and bought new the next day. Whatever you have in your fast-fashion wardrobe will only last a few days. In this way, you are contributing to the global chaos that we have all collectively created by supporting and over-consuming fast fashion chains without knowing that you will be a link in the cycle.

First, let me elaborate on the problems of the fast fashion industry and why it is not as sustainable as they claim.

What is sustainable fashion? You’d think it was old clothes put back into production, but it’s not. The standards currently available for measuring and evaluating recycling activities are very vague. If the label says “100% recycled polyester,” it’s not recycled clothing, it’s recycled bottles.

About 70% of today’s textiles are made of synthetic fibers (crude oil based). Most of today’s textiles also have a mixed composition of various synthetic and natural fibers. This makes it impossible with today’s technology to break down and recycle each fiber individually. For a garment to be fully recyclable, it must consist of a single fiber. 100% poly, 100% cotton, etc. If a garment has metal accessories such as zippers or beads, the garment cannot be recycled again.

Knowing this, you can understand that if a garment has a sustainable label, it’s simply a recycled garment, a recycled bottle or other material.

The big question is where does the 120 billion garments produced each year actually go? The answer lies primarily in landfills.

Ghana’s landfill is just one of many in the world where clothing is dumped.

Fast fashion: A landfill for unwanted clothes – BBC News – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MHnDqelUh-4

According to German fiber collectors, some of the collected fibers end up in cleaning and insulation materials. But before that, sorting companies sort and ship good quality used clothes for sale in Eastern European countries such as Bulgaria. The problem is that the final stage of the cycle cannot be controlled and most of the time clothing sent to poor countries ends up being burned as fuel in the homes of the poor.

Combustion of clothing with mixed synthetics exposes compounds such as elastomers, plastics and volatile organic compounds. Increasing air pollution is affecting people’s health. In certain Bulgarian villages where people are burning their clothes for fuel, hospitals are recording increased blood pressure, respiratory and pulmonary infections and strokes.

Unless governments set rules for truly recyclable textile production, the over 120 billion garments produced each year will end up in landfills or into the air we breathe.

The second major impact on the environment is the consumption of water by textile production. Given that we only produce cotton that can be recycled, we quickly run out of drinking water. Although cotton is a natural fiber, it is still a crop that uses a lot of chemicals and water. According to WWF for Nature, it takes him 20,000 liters of water to make one kilogram of cotton, the equivalent of one T-shirt and one pair of jeans. (Supplemental information: 11% of the world’s pesticides are used in cotton fields)

Organic cotton is superior to conventional cotton because it is less water-intensive and less impactful on the environment around the fields. But don’t confuse it with “Ecological Growth Cotton”. Ecologically grown cotton is just a marketing statement that does not prove organic cotton production.

Recycling or returning old clothes is not the solution to overconsumption and overproduction. Cycles are easy to break. However. stop. will purchase.

So what can we as consumers do to change the way we experience fashion and dress ourselves in a way that doesn’t destroy the planet?

1. Seasonless

With 52 micro-seasons and daily changing trends fast-fashion chains moving forward, we’ve strayed away from what fashion is all about: projecting your own style.

Fashion is the perfect tool to dress yourself, express your style and get your message across. You can decide how you present yourself to the world. While doing so, you don’t have to buy new clothes every other week. All you need to do is define your personal style and choose the staples you want to wear repeatedly.

Going in any season is the way to go in the future. The concept means creating clothes that last, not at the cost of style, and instead of being thrown away. Maintain the creativity and well-being of the artists and designers they work with.

Only the end consumer has the power to balance, push and pressure brands to make real change. You may be the next to do it.

2. Buy quality second-hand clothes

Second-hand goods are the lifestyle of customers who are environmentally conscious. Vintage has become a new industry with global sales reaching his US$36 billion in 2021 and is expected to grow further in the coming years.

Buying second-hand doesn’t mean wearing old clothes.

Personally, I choose to buy clothes from certain designers on the second-hand market because they are of good quality, durable, and well-preserved. Choose clothes made from fabrics such as silk or wool. Here are some of the clothes we’ve collected from high-end designer brands and vintage shops.

Another good thing about buying designer second-hand is that once you experience the luxury of silk or wool clothing, you want to maintain that feeling for a long time, so you put in the effort to maintain the quality of the garment. Since I started buying second-hand clothes, I have become very conscious of how I handle my clothes and how I care about preserving the condition of the fabric.

Another good thing about secondhand designers is that when you’ve had enough of a garment and are ready to let it go, there’s someone waiting in the next corner to buy it from you ?

3. Make your own clothes

This is the part where I believe the biggest impact will occur. Learning to make your own clothes can really change the way you experience fashion. The freedom to express yourself and create clothes you can wear over and over again.

That’s the power! The power to not rely on fast fashion chains, the power to be a creative muse, the power to tell your own story in the language you create.

Making your own clothes may sound daunting, but there are many easy ways to get started and learn.

As you make your own clothes, you get into the habit of questioning everything you see in the store. You’ll question its quality, how it’s made, or even if you can make it yourself. Instead of buying the fancy jackets you see in stores, you’ll quickly discover that you want to make your own. In this way, you will buy less and less ready-made clothes.

The choice of fabric also determines the environmental impact. Like finished garments, a lot of surplus fabric is produced and discarded each year. The corporate waste side of fashion waste is 40 times more than household waste. It’s up to you to find these deadstock fabrics, which I call rare gems, and make your clothes out of them. Better quality means better finished product ?

4. Choose wisely

Changing habits from day to day is not easy. If you have to buy new clothes from the store, educate yourself to choose quality clothes that will truly last a lifetime.

If you need to buy something basic, such as a t-shirt, choose organic cotton over standard ones. Learn about labels and what they mean. Learn about available certifications and standards and know the brands you buy from. If possible, choose smaller brands with conscious production practices. If you see a sustainability statement, don’t hesitate to ask. Ask brands to tell you more or justify their claims.

Remember, you and only you can decide what the future looks like.

Choose wisely.